In my last update, I observed that the covid-19 pandemic, while hugely disruptive and unsettling, also highlights our global interconnectedness, and underlines the need to collaborate to address shared challenges. Since then, the world has seen the rise of another but very different international phenomenon in the form of the global Black Lives Matter protests, which arose in response to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis, USA, on 25 May.
In this issue’s guest blog, Jennifer Westendorf reflects on the significance of these events, and how we need to be able to see ourselves as part of a bigger picture, as the IFMRS develops a new strategic plan for our longer-term future.
While the development of our new plan is still very much a live conversation – and one which we will broaden out to key external stakeholders in the coming months – there are a few key imperatives which underpin our overall direction of travel, and which need to guide our community if we are to achieve our goals. One of these is the need to engage with the wider challenges facing musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions globally. Despite being a huge cause of the growing burden of disability across the world, as highlighted in the Global Burden of Disease study, MSK conditions are almost universally under-prioritised, and this is reflected in the overall profile and funding of MSK research. If we want to make a real difference not just to MSK research but to the people it serves and the health economies which it supports, we need to work with international partners to make MSK conditions a genuine priority for governments across the world.
In line with this, we as the IFMRS need to reflect the breadth and variety of our community through our membership. In particular, we need to go “beyond the bone” and proactively engage a wider range of organisations from different parts of the world and focusing on different aspects of MSK, including muscle, joints and connective. Because all of us are stakeholders in this shared effort, we all need to be ambassadors for the IFMRS in this respect, helping to create a groundswell behind what we aim to achieve – which is where the new strategic plan comes in.
There is much that already provides us with a strong platform for doing so. The MSK Knowledge Portal, our online learning environment HubLE, and the H Fleisch Workshop are all very important initiatives which already have a strong profile and which are all gaining interest and engagement from across the world, and they each have enormous potential for further development. HubLE celebrated its first anniversary last month, though it feels like it’s been going for much longer, and we have recently added osteoarthritis data to the MSK Knowledge Portal, which was only launched a few months ago. Preparations for the H Fleisch Workshop next year are in full swing.
It has become something of a cliché to say that we live in strange and turbulent times. Certainly, there are things which we’ll all have to get more used to, such as doing many more things virtually than in person. But what won’t change is the need to work closer together to tackle shared challenges – and that, ultimately, is what the IFMRS is all about.
Miles apart but closer than ever
Jennifer J. Westendorf, Ph.D.
Rochester MN, USA. ORS representative on the IFMRS Board
The IFMRS Board of Directors met last week to discuss the Federation’s strategic plan for the next three years. The Board meeting was preceded by two smaller discussion group meetings that reviewed the IFRMR’s purpose, values and priorities. The Federation’s priorities will be based on three pillars of Networking (improving collaboration and broadening our community), Knowledge (deepening and disseminating information on the MSK system) and Influence (making improvements in MSK health and research an international priority). We will now undertake another round of discussions with key stakeholders which will “add flesh to the bone” of the strategic plan and identify specific targets and measures.
When finalized in September, the new IFMRS strategic plan will provide a solid blueprint for the Federation to follow in coming years as it prioritizes its precious resources of time and money. I have participated in many strategic planning sessions. This time I am struck by how much 2020 has to say about plans for 2023, 2025 and 2030. We have rapidly come to tipping points in how we work and interact. All of the IFMRS meetings mentioned (and many others) were held via video conference from our homes rather than in Paris, France due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that to date has caused more than 6.6M deaths worldwide. It has halted international travel, prompted stay-at-home orders, introduced our generation to social distancing practices, and forced quick pivots in how we work and learn. Although the pandemic originated 7,007 miles from where I live, it quickly spread around the globe. On May 25th, the gruesome death of Mr. George Floyd occurred just 84 miles (135 km) away from my home, and also reverberated across the globe. This event sparked many personal emotions (sadness, anger, guilt for my privilege, fear) and unveiled another pandemic that began centuries ago and has been suppressed and ignored by many. This pandemic strips people of their humanity, prevents full engagement in societies, and causes socio-economic and health disparities, including more pain and disability from musculoskeletal disorders. Excellence in any field, including musculoskeletal science, cannot be fully achieved until we have the engagement and inclusion of all conscientious people.
What both of these traumatic events have shown us is that we need to get out of our lanes and comfort zones and look at situations differently and more deeply. As biomedical scientists and physicians, we embrace rigorous research and global collaboration for the advancement of knowledge and human health. But to achieve the inclusivity and success that we aspire to in alleviating pain in all individuals from musculoskeletal and other diseases, we must do more as individuals and Boards to understand societal ailments that work against us.
My feelings are now of optimism - optimism for a vaccine for covid-19, optimism for societal changes to reduce discrimination, and optimism for the IFMRS. Someday soon we will be able to travel to other corners of the globe again and enjoy cultures different from our own. As we re-open our societies, we must also re-open our hearts and minds and take time to understand history and our unconscious biases so that we can cure social injustices and hatred wherever they exist. 2020 has a lot to say about the future and the success of strategic plans. We are miles apart, but we are also closer in some ways than we’ve ever been. Recognizing what unites us and uniting around a shared purpose will allow us to overcome any distance, and achieve greater outcomes not just for musculoskeletal research but for humanity, which is ultimately the reason we all do what we do. And the IFMRS is getting ready to do just that.
MEMBER SOCIETY NEWS
Introducing ANZBMS Early Career Investigator Committee (ECIC)
Dr Melissa Cantley and Dr Ayse Zengin (ECIC Co-Chairs)
The Australian and New Zealand Bone and Mineral Society (ANZBMS) Early Career Investigator Committee (ECIC) was formed in 2017 with an aim to advocate for early career investigators (ECI) (<10 years PhD/Masters), foster active engagement and supports professional development. The ECIC have had a strong input in the Society’s annual scientific meeting with targeted career development sessions and social networking events – both of which have had immense success! One of the ECICs main schemes is The Bridging Overseas Networking and Exchange (B.O.N.E) Program which is an exchange between ECIC and other early career groups within the musculoskeletal field, and involves being an invited speaker at the associated society’s annual scientific meeting – thereby boosting the track record of ECIs. The ECIC Newsletter highlights the amazing achievements of ECIs within the ANZBMS and informs the community about future events, webinars, and career development initiatives. The Newsletter also allows collaborations with international groups and societies within the musculoskeletal field. Please get in touch via email@example.com you’d like to be featured in the ECIC Newsletter. Further information regarding ECIC can be found: https://www.anzbms.org.au/eci-committee.asp
ASBMR and Coalition of Bone Health Experts Issue Joint Guidance on Osteoporosis Management in the COVID-19 Era
The ASBMR, American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists (AACE), Endocrine Society, European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS), and the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) released joint guidance to help healthcare professionals treating osteoporosis patients in the era of the COVID-19 global pandemic. Although patients should continue on their prescribed osteoporosis regimens when possible, the current pandemic has necessitated the implementation of social distancing strategies that could disrupt medical care, especially for injection or IV delivery of drugs. These coalition guidelines help address treatment challenges, offering specific recommendations for patients who are unable to receive their next dosage of non-oral osteoporosis medications, or how to transition to alternative therapies until patients are again able to resume their original treatment. The guidance document is available on the ASBMR website here.
ASBMR and Coalition of Bone Experts Release Joint Guidance for Assessment of Bone Density and Microarchitecture in vivo with HR-pQCT
The ASBMR, International Osteoporosis Foundation (IOF), and European Calcified Tissue Society (ECTS) released joint guidance on the methods for and reporting of imaging from high-resolution peripheral quantitative computed tomography (HR-pQCT). These coalition guidelines address the urgent need for guidance and consensus due to the rapid growth in use of HR-pQCT to assess bone microarchitecture in clinical studies. The guidance provides standardized techniques and terminology, direction on interpretation and reporting of results, and discusses unresolved issues in the field. To read the news release and published article, click here.
2020 ASBMR Annual Meeting to be a Full Virtual Event
The ASBMR Council voted to transition the 2020 ASBMR Annual Meeting to a completely virtual event, taking place September 11-15, as a result of health and safety concerns from the coronavirus pandemic. The Society is excited by the opportunities it will provide for members and attendees to experience the cutting-edge research that the ASBMR Annual Meeting is known for through a more dynamic digital means, as well as with a wider global audience. The virtual meeting will allow for more engagement for networking and offer new interactive presentation opportunities. To help during these extraordinary times, all ASBMR members will also receive free registration for the 2020 Annual Meeting. More FAQs and information on the 2020 ASBMR Annual Meeting are on the ASBMR website here.
ISBM members have elected a new board and officers for 2020-2022.
We are looking forward to working with you on coming ISBM-related events on skeletal imaging and morphometry.
ISBM Congress 2022
The next ISBM congress will be in Odense, Denmark, June 2022.
ISBM Membership & Events
Please join ISBM and follow our coming events on our website and via Twitter
ORS addresses Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
Diverse workforces and inclusive workplaces improve productivity, innovation, and overall quality‐of‐care for all patients, increase public trust in medical research, and are generally good for business. Unfortunately, orthopaedics lags behind other biomedical fields in the recruitment of women and underrepresented minorities into training programs and faculty ranks and focused recruitment efforts have not reduced the gender, racial, or ethnic gaps in orthopedic residency programs. These gaps exist among both clinical and research faculty in academic orthopaedic surgery departments, as well as in other departments that house orthopaedic researchers, such as engineering. The Orthopaedic Research Society (ORS) is in a privileged and unique position to positively influence recruitment and retention efforts because orthopedic research laboratories are often entry points for students who aspire to be scientists, engineers, physicians, and/or surgeons. As a premier orthopedic professional society, ORS has the responsibility to set cultural standards for safe and inclusive environments for all members and affiliates to implement and follow.
The Orthopaedic Research Society is pleased to offer the ORS Basic Science Course Preview on a complimentarybasis through December 30, 2020. This preview will provide learners a sneak peek of the ORS 2021 Basic Science Course which will explain the science behind the decisions, treatments and procedures that are performed in practice every day. Understanding the science behind clinical decisions is important as we strive to improve patient care.
This special preview consists of an online set of nine online lectures culminating in approximately 3 hours of learning content. All users will have until January 31, 2020 to finish your course. After this date, the preview will no longer be available.
Each individual lecture is approximately 15 – 30 minutes in length
This course offers pre-assessment and post-assessments
Who would benefit from this course? All career levels and disciplines in the field of musculoskeletal research and research relating to orthopaedics will benefit from the course.
Enrollment: Through December 31, 2020, enrollment in the Basic Science Course Preview is complimentary and does not require ORS membership.
Watch for an upcoming CABS webinar, held in conjunction with ASBMR, that will discuss the clinical management of bone metastases and low bone mass in cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic. The date for this webinar is to be determined, but it is likely to be held sometime in July. We will post the date and time to http://www.cancerandbone.org/education when available.
The ASBMR Symposium on The Seed and Soil: Therapeutic Targets for Cancer and Bone will be held on Thursday, September 10, 2020, one-day prior the ASBMR 2020 Annual Meeting at the Washington State Convention Center in Seattle, Washington, USA. Please click here to view the ASBMR Symposium on the Seed and Soil: Therapeutic Targets for Cancer and Bone Program.
HubLE Talks is a new feature, launched on the 1st May, our platform's first-year anniversary! It is a series of pre-recorded video lectures presented by both basic and clinical scientists from HubLE international community of researchers in the field of musculoskeletal research.
MEMBER SOCIETY EVENTS
The 38th Meeting of the JSBMR
09-12 October 2020, Kobe, Japan